EGMT 1520: Meaning From Numbers

Years Offered: 
Quarter Offered: 
Day | Time: 
TR 12:30pm-1:45pm
Session: 
Spring Quarter Three: January 19 – March 15
Years Offered: 
Quarter Offered: 
Day | Time: 
TR 3:30pm-4:45pm
Session: 
Spring Quarter Four: March 16 – May 3
Years Offered: 
Quarter Offered: 
Day | Time: 
TR 5:00pm-6:15pm
Session: 
Spring Quarter Four: March 16 – May 3
Instructor: 
Every day we make meaning out of numbers. We make meaning out of numbers when we do simple things like looking at a clock or following the measurements in a cooking recipe. We are more conscious of the fact that we are relying on numbers to have meaning when we check our bank account statements, watch stock prices rise and fall, or look at the most recent statistics of Covid-19 infections. Even when we do not consciously think about what numbers mean, the machines we rely upon—from our phones to computers to our cars—are almost entirely reliant on numerical systems of code to produce meaning out of numbers for us. This class explores how we make meaning out of numbers and what the consequences for doing so are for the world around us. Throughout the course we will think about when, where, how, and why we have tried to quantify aspects of the world we inhabit. When do quantification and numbers help us get closer to empirical truth? When do numbers lie? How can we tell the difference? What does it mean to live in a world so defined by numbers?